TUT staff, students injured in protest march

Thursday, February 12, 2009
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - A staff member, several other students and a journalist were injured when police intervened during protests at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Pretoria campus on Wednesday.

"The management of TUT has learnt with sadness that protest actions outside the campus have resulted in injuries to some of our staff members, and students, following crowd control measures by members of the South African Police Service," TUT spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said on Thursday.

She said presently they have not yet received the figures of students who sustained injuries because among the marchers were people from various students organisations.

Ms Ruyter did, however, confirm that only one staff member was injured during the incident as well as a journalist from the Pretoria News newspaper.

Protest actions took place when the university suspended all its activities and advised staff and students not to be on campus on Wednesday.

The decision was taken in view of the volatile situation at TUT over the past few days caused by intimidation of non-striking staff members by some members of the unions as well as their acts of violence.

"The safety of staff, students and university property is our primary concern and management took the decision to avoid any threat to the safety of people's lives or TUT property. In arriving at the decision, management had consulted the Chairperson of Council and the Minister of Education," said the institution.

At the time of the incident, and in view of suspended university activities, management representatives were not on site, but were locked in a meeting aimed at restoring the normal university activities.

Management was therefore, not expecting any activity on campus, given that university closure had been in force.

The university has established that the gathering was organised in support of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (NEHAWU), and awaits a report from the South African Police Service (SAPS) on what led to crowd control measures.

NEHAWU and the National Union of Tertiary Employees of South Africa (NUTESA), embarked on a strike in January demanding an 11 percent increase across the board and a reversal of the downgrading of workers so that they can also receive the 11 percent increase.

TUT has extended its registration period to accommodate students who were unable to register on time as a result of the strike over salary increases.

The university has encouraged students to register online at www.tut.ac.za, by clicking on the enrolment 2009 button and selecting online registration.

Students will need a pin code indicated on the January 2009 registration letter and those who have forgotten their pin codes can contact (012) 382-5523 for assistance.